From the Left



Cutting in Line

Susan Estrich on

It is a brisk morning, but this is LA, so that means we are in sweaters and puffers. We stand six feet apart.

I cannot believe I am here, cannot believe that a year spent inside, in fear, in anger, in grief, is nearing an end.

Science is saving us, pure and simple.

I am here by chance, because my daughter saw a notice on Twitter that a private company had contracted with Los Angeles to provide software for vaccination sites being run by the City of LA (as opposed to LA County). She read the list of sites. None close to me, and rightly so. I have spent time at the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus (not as a patient, thankfully, though it is a first-rate hospital), and the site I recognized was across from the pharmacy school.

"I'm getting mine on Monday," a trophy wife and former pretty little thing from San Diego bragged. What was particularly galling was that she had already had COVID-19, which means she should be last in line. She is not over 65; her husband is. (Shocker, that one.) He is a doctor. The shot was for a phantom staffer.

"I do the books sometimes," she added as I looked at her in utter shock.


What could I say? "How does it feel to be cutting in line, to be taking a spot from someone who needs it?" Is it polite to ask? Am I wrong to be horrified?

Or am I no better -- a millennial mom, saved by Twitter?

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said each state is a "laboratory" of experimentation and change. As such, they are proving very aptly that there are countless ways to fail in distributing the vaccine fairly and efficiently.

What is going on in Los Angeles is being played out in major cities across America. I am in East LA, a predominantly Hispanic community. The line did have some Hispanics, but nowhere near the 49% of the county population they make up. It was mostly whites and Asians. It was hard to find parking. There were lots of nice cars. It was an easy 25 minutes from the other side of the world.


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